Challenges of integrated modelling in mining regions to address social, environmental and economic impacts

Alex M Lechner, Neil McIntyre, Katherine Witt, Christopher M Raymond, Sven Arnold, Margaretha Scott, Will Rifkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Planning in mining regions needs to accommodate the extraction of minerals/energy resources in co-existence with established land uses, such as agriculture and ecological conservation. Here, we first identify six critical aspects of planning in mining regions: i) the temporal nature of mining operations; ii) spatial dimensions of mining operations; iii) irreversible changes that create post-mining landscapes; iv) social dimensions of mining impacts and corporate responsibility; v) cumulative dimensions of impacts; and vi) a need to integrate methods from a range of disciplines. We then illustrate the potential to address these challenges using integrative modelling nested within a participatory approach to allow for clear, transparent, and stakeholder-inclusive decision-making. We describe a 5-step framework that supports a broadening of strategic assessments and offers mining companies forewarning about potential environmental and social conflicts. Case studies are needed to assess and refine the proposed framework and develop guidance for its use.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Pages (from-to)268-281
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 519 Social and economic geography
  • 1172 Environmental sciences

Cite this